Elvis has left the building
"Elvis has left the building" is a phrase that was often used by public address announcers following Elvis Presley concerts to disperse audiences who lingered in hopes of an encore. It has since become a popular culture catchphrase and punchline.
Origin and popularization
It was first used by promoter Horace Lee Logan on December 15, 1956, near Shreveport, Louisiana, to plead with concert goers not to leave a concert hall to try to see Elvis as he left and instead remain to see the other acts on the bill. The full quotation was:
"Alright, alright, Elvis has left the building. I've told you absolutely straight up to this point, you know that he has left the building; he left the stage and went out the back with the policeman and he is now gone from the building."
Throughout the 1970s, the phrase was captured on record several times, spoken by Al Dvorin. In later years the phrase would be spoken by some of Presley's backup singers to calm down the audience after concerts.
The phrase has since become a popular culture catchphrase and punchline, used to refer to anyone who has exited in some sense. For instance, it might be used when someone makes a dramatic exit, such as at the end of an argument, partly to relieve tension among those who remain. Baseball announcers on radio or television sometimes use the phrase as a humorous way to describe a home run, which is typically hit over the outfield fence and into the stands, thus leaving the field of play. The hockey announcer Mike Lange uses the phrase when a goal puts the game out of reach, signalling that fans can leave the arena.
Professional wrestler Shawn Michaels used a variant of the phrase when leaving the ring after a promo: "Shawn Michaels has left the building." Michaels has said in several interviews and on his Twitter feed that he is an Elvis fan.
- George Plasketes (1997-07-18), Images of Elvis Presley in American culture, ISBN 978-1-56024-910-8
- The Straight Dope - What is the origin of "Elvis has left the building"?
- Chester Chronicle - Elvis comes to Liverpool’s award-winning Beatles Story Museum
- Shreveport Municipal Auditorium
- The Elvis Encyclopedia. Gerald Duckworth & Co Ltd. 2008. p. 133. ISBN 978-0-7156-3816-3.
- NYTimes blog mentions Mike Lange